France reveals plan to drop negative Covid test requirement for vaccinated travellers from Britain and America

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France is set to drop negative Covid tests for vaccinated travellers outside EUCurrent rules mean travellers have to show a negative test from last 48 hoursEurope Minister Clement Beaune did not give an exact date for the rule change 

France has revealed plans to drop its requirement for vaccinated travellers from Britain and America to show proof of a negative Covid test on arrival. 

Minister for European affairs Clement Beaune said the country is dropping tests for vaccinated travellers outside the European Union, which were reintroduced in response to Omicron, as infection numbers continue to fall.

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Under current rules, anyone travelling to France from outside the EU, including Britain, has to show a negative Covid test result from the previous 48 hours, regardless of vaccination status.

Speaking on Tuesday, Beaune did not specify an exact date that the new rules will come into force, but said they would announce the change in the ‘coming days’.

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Europe Minister Clement Beaune (pictured) said France is dropping tests for vaccinated travellers outside the European Union, which were reintroduced in response to Omicron

Europe Minister Clement Beaune (pictured) said France is dropping tests for vaccinated travellers outside the European Union, which were reintroduced in response to Omicron

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He told France 2 television: ‘We again required tests in December over the Omicron variant. 

‘In the coming days we will announce that tests are no longer needed for vaccinated people.’

EU members agreed on January 25 to better coordinate their travel rules, in particular for people crossing borders within the bloc. 

‘This week there will probably be a new European protocol for vaccinated people arriving from outside the EU, with eased measures,’ Beaune added. 

The Omicron surge prompted Italy and Denmark to impose recent negative test requirements and vaccination proof for entry by fellow EU residents, a tightening of the rules that irritated officials in Brussels.

France’s plan comes just days after the country banned travellers from entering if they were double-jabbed nine months ago or more.

Britons wanting to go skiing or on city breaks to Paris for the half-term break will have to get a booster jab if they received their second dose any earlier than May last year.

Without a recent jab, France will effectively treat travellers as unvaccinated and can only enter with a ‘compelling reason’, such as visiting a dying relative. 

Beaune did not specify an exact date that the new rules will come into force. Pictured: Passengers arrive at the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy in April 2021

Beaune did not specify an exact date that the new rules will come into force. Pictured: Passengers arrive at the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy in April 2021

French authorities began lifting a series of Covid restrictions this month, with nightclubs set to reopen from February 16 and standing areas once again authorised for concerts and sporting events as well as bars.

The country recorded 46,001 Covid cases on Monday, a sharp drop from the record of just under 465,000 infections in mid-January.

Elsewhere, Spain is set to reject EU plans that would have made it easier to enter the country. 

Under Brussels’ plan, unvaccinated people or those with only one dose would have been allowed to travel provided they recovered from Covid within the past 180 days.

But authorities in Madrid are shaping up to reject the rule, meaning anyone over the age of 12 who has not been fully jabbed will be banned from crossing the border.

The rule will hit children the hardest because the NHS only began offering second jabs to over-12s in late December. 

Children who were infected with Covid after their first jab are also forced to wait 12 weeks before getting a second.

They must then wait another two weeks after the second jab for it to be valid for travel – meaning some may not be able to get vaccinated in time for the holidays, which begin in a little under two weeks.

Children are now able to use the NHS app to display their vaccination and infection history.

In signs that the global recovery from Covid is far from over, two of London’s main budget airlines recently revealed that the number of passengers they carried dropped in January.

Under current rules, anyone travelling to France from outside the EU has to show a negative Covid test result from the previous 48 hours, regardless of vaccination status (file image)

Under current rules, anyone travelling to France from outside the EU has to show a negative Covid test result from the previous 48 hours, regardless of vaccination status (file image) 

Even when compared to Omicron-hit December, the airlines said that they lost 2.7 million passengers between them.

Ryanair was the worst hit in January when compared to the month before. The number of passengers that it carried dropped 26 per cent – from 9.5 million to just seven million.

Meanwhile, Wizz Air saw its passenger figures dip 9 per cent to 2.4 million. The data casts new light on the challenging situation faced by airlines.

Governments put restrictions on international travel early on in a bid to slow the spread of the virus across borders.

But investors are now hoping that the airlines can move beyond Covid.

The share price of both companies has recovered and is now trading at around, or above, its pre-pandemic level. 

But the figures also showed Wizz Air had more than quadrupled the number of passengers it carried compared to January 2021 – but it is still lagging behind its figures from a year before that.

Ryanair showed an even larger jump, increasing its passenger numbers more than fivefold.

It flew 46,000 flights in January, and its planes were 79 per cent full. Wizz Air’s so-called load factor was 79.6 per cent. 

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